The KonMari Method Helped Me Discard 1500 Books. Here Are 3 Ways It Improved My Life.

The KonMari Method Helped Me Discard 1500 Books. Here Are 3 Ways It Improved My Life.

Here’s my podcast episode of this article if you’re the type of person who prefers to listen 🙂


Before The KonMari Method

I remembered the pure joy I felt every time I bought a new book.

The boundless potential and promise of knowledge, of adventure, of a better me.

In high school and college, I collected thousands of books.

Buying them was so easy because they were always on sale at Costco, Barnes and Nobles, and Amazon.

But sadly, while buying them was easy, reading them was not.

Between the textbooks of high school and college, I didn’t find much time to read for fun.

I never stopped buying books though.

They kept piling up on my bookshelves, unopened.

books everywhere on the shelves
not my room

The Japanese call this “Tsundoku,” meaning to buy books and let them pile up without ever reading them.

Then, one day, while feeding my biblio-addiction at the local Barnes and Nobles, I happened upon “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo and my life has never been the same.

Why Did I Discard 1500 Books?

I think what drove me to her book was that it talked about creating a joyful life.

And it might be because after college, I wasn’t feeling all that joyful with my life.

The prospects of job hunting, the withdrawal of not having to study for tests, essays, exams, and not being surrounded by a lot of friends in the same space.

By the time I was able to fully finish reading Marie Kondo’s book and put it into action, it was after college.

By then, my bookshelves were overflowing with so many books that I was stacking them on top of each other.

books everywhere on the floor
not my books

Marie Kondo’s book couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

Like she suggested, I took all my books off the shelves and put them on the floor.

I then picked up every single one of them and asked “Does this book bring me joy?” the moment I touched it.

If not, I would say “Thank you” and put it in the discard pile.

By the time it was all said and done, I had spent the whole day and kept about 10 books.

The rest, I put in cardboard boxes and plastic tubs and brought them all to the local library to donate.

Luckily, the library’s donation area was outside, away from the workers, so I wouldn’t get judged for bringing them 1500 books.

I quickly dropped off everything, got in my car, and sped out the parking lot before they could see the huge pile of boxes.

Sorry to whoever came at the end of the day to close the donation shed.

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How Has My life Changed Since Discarding 1500 books?

“Alright Jack, just get to the point already!” you scream.

Okay, okay.

Here are the 3 ways my life has gotten better since parting with 1500 books.

1) I’m Less Anxious

I’m now less anxious when I enter my room.

no books in sight
supposed to represent calmness

Instead of having 1500 books with their titles all screaming at me, now when I enter the room I am greeted by 10 close friends who bring me joy.

Think about it: the marketing department of publishing companies have to design titles on book spines that will grab your attention when you’re in the bookstore.

They have to make their book stand out amongst a sea of other books.

I had 1500 books all screaming at me, vying for my attention.

And, being an over-achiever, I was always thinking in the back of my mind, “Which book do I read next?”

The attention seeking behavior of the books, coupled with the anxiety of having too many choices, led to a not so joyful room.

By discarding them all, I’m now less anxious when I enter my room.

Oh, one thing to add to those are are hyperventilating at this point: I have now started creating “to read” lists on Amazon.

It’s an amazing feature in the Amazon app.

Now any time I have a book I want to read, I just add it to the “to read” list and only buy the book when I am done reading my current book.

So I only ever buy and read one book at a time now.

And when I’m done with my book, I ask if it brought me sheer joy, if the answer is “yes,” I keep on my shelf.

If “no,” I ask if any of my friends want the book.

If no one takes it, I donate it.

It’s made my life so much more enjoyable.

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2) My Room Is More Peaceful (And Clean)

Marie Kondo said that “by eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.”

And I find that to be true.

also no books picture, a calm room
what you get when you search for “peaceful room”

My bed wasn’t bringing me joy so I threw it out and slept on a yoga mat.

You can read that article here: Why I Sleep On A Yoga Mat – Minimalism Life

Ever since I got rid of my books, along with many other things, now when friends and family come into my room, they remark, “Wow your room is so clean!”

Or, “Your room is so peaceful!”

Thank you.

It took a lot of sweat, anguish, and letting go of a lot of stuff that didn’t bring me joy to get to that level of calm and peace.

It’s still a work in progress, and it does require tidying up every now and then.

With less stuff, cleaning my room now takes about 10 minutes to vacuum and wipe the floor.

It used to take over 30 minutes, mostly from all the dust that collects over many surfaces, and moving things around.

But overall, the peacefulness and calmness of mind has spilled over into my everyday life as well.

I get angry less.

I sleep better.

I’m able to focus more on my goals such as writing, blogging, reading, and exercise.

Discarding all my books has made me a calmer and more productive person.

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3) Increased Self Control (Saves Money)

By discarding all my books, I found that it’s actually helped me control my craving for more books.

This has in turn helped me save so much money.

save money from books by not buying them pic
one way to not buy books. make money inaccessible…

Apparently it happens to others too.

Marie Kondo said, “After tidying, many clients tell me that their worldly desires have decreased. Whereas in the past no matter how many clothes they had, they were never satisfied and always wanted something new to wear. Once they selected and kept only those things they really loved, they felt that they had everything they needed.”

Whereas before I would buy, buy, buy, without a care in the world, now I ask myself:

-Is there space on the shelf?

-Do I really need this book right now?

-Will it bring me joy?

The last question sometimes I don’t have the answer to until after I read the book.

But I think it’s a helpful criteria to ask beforehand, just in case I’m merely falling for a publishing company’s marketing ploy when I don’t really want nor need the book.

The KonMari Method has helped me curb wanton spending of money on books I don’t need at that moment and allowed me to come up with better ways to satisfy that feeling.

Such as adding them to my “books to buy” list on Amazon so I don’t forget.

Just the act of adding them to the list satisfies my inner fear that I might forget them.

Thus I don’t need to buy at that exact moment like I used to at Costco, Barnes and Nobles, or Amazon.

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In Summary

The KonMari Method helped my discard over 1500 books and changed my life for the better.

It’s helped me feel less anxious everyday, helped me create a more peaceful and cleaner living space, and helped me develop more self control and save money.

I think it will change your life for the better too if you give it a shot.

Let me know in the comments below if you end up reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, or if you’ve already read it but were on the fence about it.

Good luck on your journey!

-Jack


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Jack The Dreamer

I'm a dreamer. But you know what? All the best people are. And if you're one too, join the revolution! My blog is about being financially independent and working towards that goal each and every single day so that we can all start living the life we've always dreamed of! Jack the Dreamer, over and out!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Hi Jack!

    I always love reading your posts. You’re a great storyteller.

    I love Marie Kondo (and am currently listening to Tim Ferriss’ fascinating interview of her). I’m so impressed with how minimal your life is. Wish I could clean my bedroom in 10 minutes!

    It’s a little harder to be minimal with a husband and two kids, but I’m slowly Konmari-ing my way through the house.

    I love your method of keeping your book population minimal. I’m sure it’s not easy to resist, but you’ve done great work on yourself. I wonder though, if you could take it one step further and use the library and ditch book-buying altogether?

    You can usually access just about any book by requesting a purchase or interlibrary loan. (And of course you’ll need to exercise a little patience for popular or new books.) Using libraries could save you a good chunk of change for sure!

    I love your blog, and look forward to more articles from you!

    Chrissy

    1. Hi Chrissy! It is such an honor to read your comment! Lol thank you!

      I remember the big splash you made when you joined the FI community and the other bloggers were helping you get more followers lol.

      It’s tough to KonMari your life when others are involved, I feel you lol. It was and still is difficult getting my family to understand that they don’t need as much stuff (it’s taken years but they’re slowly coming around).

      Regarding using the library, I completely understand where you’re coming from and I’ve thought about it many times.

      My only issue is that I like to underline, highlight, and sticky note certain sections to use later in blog posts, YouTube videos, podcasts, etc. and writing in library books is frowned upon right? Lol.

      One thing I’ve started doing is buying the used versions on amazon for cheaper than the brand new versions. This has helped me save a good chunk of change so far lol, so almost?

      1. Hi Jack, I had a feeling there was a good reason behind your book buying. Now it all makes sense! Buying used is a great idea. It’s amazing how cheap books can be when you buy them secondhand.

      2. Definitely! Lol. Maybe it’s the sense of freedom of being able to make comments in the margins without fear of reprimand or paying fines lol

  2. My husband & I have been watching the show & I just picked up Marie Kondo’s book. We plan to go through the entire process in an effort to downsize as we have plans to travel more.

    Books have always been something I’ve collected, as I love to read. Even as an frequent visitor to the library, I had a huge collection of books. About 5 or 6 years ago, I donated about 10 boxes of books about gardening, herbs, cooking, etc., to a local Waldorf high school because the students’ curriculum included classes on these topics. I knew my books would be well loved & well used there.

    1. That’s amazing! Lol. It’s very cool that you were able to donate them to the local school.

      And downsizing to travel more sounds fun. My gf and I did that, it made literal traveling so much easier because less stuff to carry around, and less worry about the stuff at home.

      Not to mention if you downsize, cheaper rent or mortgage, right? So can travel longer 😉 lol yay

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